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Ethics


Analysis and insight on future ethics. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends related to ethics.

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Ray Kurzweil on Giving Future AI the Right to Vote [Video]

All technology impacts our individual daily lives one way or another—but perhaps no technology makes us question our collective humanity as much as artificial intelligence. Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist, spoke to an audience during...

Smartphones to Bionic Body Parts: Our Tech Can (and Will) Be Used Against Us

What might a crime headline look like in 2025? According to Marc Goodman, author of Future Crimes, it may read something like this: “Man arrested for shooting his wife, acquitted on all charges after forensic evidence...
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Take a Deep Dive into the Brain with This Week’s Episode of Ask an Expert [Video]

When will we understand the brain? In an era of scientific progress and emerging technologies, one would think that we were on the cusp of finally answering this age-old question. Not so fast. Understanding the anatomical structures and physiological functions...

Are You a Thinking Thing? Why Debating Machine Consciousness Matters

“I think therefore I am.” In 1637, when he published, The Discourse on Method, René Descartes unleashed a philosophical breakthrough, which later became a fundamental principle that much of modern philosophy now stands upon. Nearly 400 years...

Think Your Conscious Brain Directs Your Actions? Think Again

Think your deliberate, guiding, conscious thoughts are in charge of your actions? Think again. In a provocative new paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a team led by Dr. Ezequiel Morsella at San Francisco State University...
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What sins of the future are you committing right now? [Video]

Odds are you're a decent, upstanding person. You abide by the laws, pay taxes, and don't rock the boat. You value security but not at the expense of privacy. Like the majority of people around you, you're...

AI More Like Iron Man’s JARVIS Is Coming This Next Decade…Bring It On

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important technology we're developing this decade. It's a massive opportunity for humanity, not a threat. So, what is AI? Broadly, AI is the ability of a computer to understand your question,...
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Sci-Fi Sunday: What Happens When Our Technology Outpaces Our Understanding?

Though the sci-fi short “Burnt Grass” deals with themes related to futuristic technologies, it doesn’t bother to develop said future in detail. It is, after all, a short film. You’ve got to pick your...

Can We Trust Robot Cars to Make Hard Choices?

The ethics of robot cars has been a hot topic recently. In particular, if a robot car encounters a situation where it is forced to hit one person or another—which should it choose and how does...

Why we should all be thrilled about the FDA starting to embrace innovation

On Feb. 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a huge step towards patient-centric medicine when it approved the marketing of genetics testing company 23andMe’s carrier test for Bloom Syndrome. This was a startling...

In Our Hyperconnected Future, Regulation Will Be Instant and Irresistible

Last week, a man crash landed his drone on the White House lawn. Evidently, the individual, a member of a US intelligence agency, had been drinking and was showing off his drone to a...
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Sci-Fi Short “Restitution” Explores Whether Humans Are Ethically Ready for Cloning’s Consequences

Among the spectrum of technological innovations that are potentially forthcoming, human cloning is among the most debated and ethically ambiguous. In his award-winning sci-fi short, Restitution, writer/director Justin Miller explores human cloning and the lengths a...

Sarah Murnaghan’s Two Double Lung Transplants Inspiring and Sobering

Sarah Murnaghan just turned eleven years old. She wouldn’t be here but for two lung donors, a crack team of surgeons, and a last-minute suspension of the rules.

Matternet Building Quadcopter Drone Network To Transport Supplies

Last summer, drones took to the skies over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. These flying bots weren’t on a military mission, nor were they conducting police surveillance. They belonged to audacious Singularity University Labs startup, Matternet. Matternet wants to leapfrog road infrastructure in developing countries by building a futuristic Pony Express—with drones.

Hunters In Louisiana Build Thermal Camera Carrying Drone to Hunt Hogs

Drones are notorious for their grim military and law enforcement uses. But as the cost of UAV technology has plummeted in recent years, non-government use of DIY drones is on the up and up. Take feral hogs, for example. Too wily for traps, wild pigs breed like rabbits and devastate crops. But there’s a drone for that. James Palmer and Cy Brown’s “Dehogaflier” Skywalker UAV conducts flyovers of local fields, peering through dense foliage in the dark with a FLIR thermal imaging camera to pinpoint marauding packs of pigs.

Jurassic Park – But For Real This Time. De-extinction On The Move

Scientists may soon bring a species of frog (Rheobatrachus silus or the gastric brooding frog) back from the dead. The frog—which bizarrely swallowed its eggs, incubated them in its stomach, and gave birth to them through its mouth—has been extinct since 1984. However, researchers from the University of New South Wales harvested dead cell nuclei, frozen in the 70s, and implanted them in a living egg of a different but related frog species. Some of the eggs began to divide into early embyros, and the researchers were able to confirm the genetic material in the dividing cells was a match.

Scientists Create 581 Clones From Same Mouse

Scientists in Japan have taken cloning to a whole new level. They haven’t cloned a new species or even come up with a new technique. They have, however, managed to push the technique to...

Interview: Jason Silva Effs the Ineffable in Fresh Philosophical Espresso Shot

Filmmaker Jason Silva’s latest philosophical short, “The Mirroring Mind,” is a stream of consciousness—about consciousness itself. If you like brain yoga, Silva's your man. He likens the mind’s ability to mirror an external environment that includes the mind itself to “plugging a video camera into the TV and then aiming the camera at the TV—the recursive loop that is formed extends itself ad infinitum.”

Fearsome UK Robot Aircraft Is Semi-Autonomous and Will Fly in 2013

There’s a robotic arms race on. Aerospace firms in concert with defense agencies are upping the ante on airborne attack drones. Not to be outdone by its ally across the Atlantic, the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is said to be soon testing a superdrone called Taranis. The drone is designed to fly intercontinental missions at supersonic speeds, undected by radar—and almost completely free of human direction.
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Trailer For Futuristic Film ‘Project Kronos’ Explores Interstellar Space Travel Program

What cost would humanity be willing to pay to make contact with intelligent life in the universe? It's a question at the interface of technology and ethics, an area that a new film called 'Project Kronos' looks to explore at a deeper level. The film, scheduled to be released on April 15, is presented as a faux-documentary that takes place in the future, in which personnel involved in an interstellar space travel program describe what the project was and their involvement with it.

Doctors Use Brain Scanner To Communicate With ‘Vegetative’ Patient

Contrary to what was previously thought, some people in a vegetative state may not be unaware of their surroundings. Brain scans recently showed one patient able to answer yes-or-no questions.  Researchers would ask the...

Divya Chander Discusses the Brain and Neuroanesthesia, Singularity University

Dr. Divya Chandler discusses neuroanesthesia, the use of intraoperative brain monitoring (especially the raw EEG) to safely manage anesthetics, and the nature of the brain and consciousness.

Panel on Pig Movie, Singularity University

SU Faculty and specialists, some of whom consulted for Pig Movie, discuss the future of technologies, nature of ethics, and suffering as highlighted in the movie. Part of Graduate Studies Program 2012.

GSP 2012 Students Consider the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Singularity University

Moderated by Faculty Chair Neil Jacobstein, the Graduate Studies 2012 Artificial Intelligence Workshop featured lively debates about the ethical consequences of Artificial Intelligence mishaps.

Cloned Horses Given Okay For Olympics – A New Era Of Cloned Competition?

Cloned horses are galloping their way toward the Olympic Games. The organization that presides over international equestrian events has reversed its position on prohibiting cloned horses from participating in competitions. The Fédération Equestre Internationale...

Toothless No More – Researchers Using Stem Cells to Grow New Teeth

It may be hard to remember what it was like to lose a tooth as a child, but many adults get an unpleasant reminder as they age when their teeth begin to fall out...

Raising The Mammoth – Russian And Korean Scientists Set Out To Bring Back The Extinct Giant

South Korean and Russian scientists have agreed on a project right out of “Jurassic Park.” Maybe not as cool as resurrecting T. Rex, but bringing back a woolly mammoth is sure to attract paying...

8,200+ Strong, Researchers Band Together To Force Science Journals To Open Access

Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free...well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The...

As Safer Fetal Genetic Tests Arrive, Abortions Could Rise

The impending  arrival of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) will allow more parents than ever before to discover congenital disorders early in pregnancy...but will it also lead to an increase in abortions? Because of the...

Dolly Lives! The Original Cloned Sheep has Four New Copies

Surprise! The world's most famous cloned sheep, Dolly, has four living copies enjoying the sweet life in England. Dolly was the world's first cloned mammal, and a huge media sensation when she appeared. Professor Keith...

Bullying Is Moving Online. Is There No Escape For Their Victims?

The internet can provide us with many things, but it can't help us avoid adolescence. The rise of social media in the past decade has also seen the advent of cyber bullying, the willful...

Cloning Extinct Species: How Close Are We?

For as long as life has been a feature of this planet, natural selection has been wiping out species with subpar adaptive strategies. Among the casualties: dinosaurs, mammoths, Neanderthals, and all manner of...

FDA Will Regulate Commercial Genetics

The New York Times reports that last week the FDA announced plans to regulate commercial genetics companies like 23andMe and deCODE. The agency sent (and posted) letters to five major genetics companies, claiming...

fMRI Scans Reveal Some ‘Vegetative’ Patients Are Actually Conscious!

In a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of the University of Cambridge and the Coma Science Group at the University Hospital...

Is it Ethical to Genetically Sequence Kids if There’s No Immediate Health Concern?

John West is very familiar with whole genome sequencing (WGS). He was a general manager with Illumina after they acquired Solexa, where he had been CEO. So it's no surprise that John West hired...

Hungary Raids Illegal Stem Cell Treatment Center – Arrests Four

Cue up the theme to COPS, put on your muumuu, and get ready for another round of science behind bars. Four people were arrested in Hungary late last month on charges of "suspicion on...

Why Your Dog Is Getting Better Stem Cell Treatment Than You

If you like controversy there's nothing that will bring you more joy than yelling "stem cell research" in a mixed crowd and then sadistically sneaking out of the room. The debate over the use...

From Dolly to Injaz: The Cloning Revolution Takes Off

Dolly was so 90's. Most of us are waiting for scientists to clone something awesome, like velociraptors or wholly mammoths... hell, even a giant sloth would be cool. But, to quote Dr....

With no Health Regulations to Stop Them Chinese Companies Take the Lead in Stem Cell Therapy

In the United States there are countless regulatory hurdles that must be overcome for new drugs and new medical treatments to make their way to the masses. Not so in China! Check out Beike...

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